Teleradiology: History and Current Perspective

Teleradiology: History and Current Perspective

Posted on July 28, 2016

Teleradiology, which is among the most established, oldest, and widely used telemedicine specialties across the globe, refers to the ability of obtaining radiology images at one location and transmitting the same over a distance for consultative or diagnostic purposes.

While the concept of Teleradiology was initially explored over 50 years ago, it is being increasingly used today as a vital part of telemedicine. Rapid advancements made in the ability to capture medical information digitally and in telecommunications, have further played a major hand towards accelerated growth in Teleradiology that we see today.

History of Teleradiology

While the invention of phone, computers, and digital image capturing technologies were the major driving forces behind the development of the concept of Teleradiology, it was in 1970s that that computer-based telemedicine approaches started garnering attention. One of the major factors that significantly contributed towards it was the shift from real-time television applications to the advanced “Store and Forward” methodologies in which the collection of data is done at the initiating site and thereafter aggregated and stored for subsequent transmission. This approach greatly simplified operations by eradicating the need for round-the-clock support staff while allowing both patients and radiologists more freedom to choose their timings.

Teleradiology systems started becoming commercially available in 1980s but were limited in terms of scalability and quality. In fact, up until early 1990s, only low performance and high cost systems were being deployed to support Teleradiology. Also, costly data transmission methods and an overall lack of cost-effective digital image handling systems further slowed down the widespread adoption of this approach.

In 1994, a successful attempt was made towards establishing a Teleradiology link between two hospitals – one in Saudi Arabia and the other in Massachusetts. While the whole setup cost a lot, it managed to mark the beginning of Teleradiology development with the contemporary equipment. After 3 years, a Teleradiology link was again established between two hospitals – one in Turkey and the other in Massachusetts using internet. This event was followed by major advances in the field of telemedicine. Gradually, the costs became low and the quality augmented.

The Current Perspective

Today, the scenario is entirely different. With the help of widespread usage of picture archiving and communications systems, direct digital capture capabilities in Radiology, advancements in the field of computing, data compression, swift transmission, etc., Teleradiology is now an easily accessible branch of telemedicine.

The proliferation of the smart phones and advanced portable computing devices is further making Teleradiology even more easily accessible while continuously working on enhancing the service’s quality. Today, Teleradiology specialists are conducting surveys about the usage of smart devices for Teleradiology image viewing and carrying out diagnostic operations. A recent study in the field assessed the scenario of using the iPad for interpreting the CT cases for the Pulmonary Embolism in comparison to traditional PACS workstation. It was established that both the devices interpreted about 98% of the cases accurately.

It is expected that the usage of such devices will increase in the future and simplify several complicated Teleradiology concepts in the near future.

Flatworld Solutions, which is at the forefront of cutting edge health care services offers unmatched Teleradiology services to its clients in the most efficacious manner. Witnessing the world-wide shortage of skilled radiology specialists, Flatworld Solutions proffers its services to a worldwide clientele. To find out more about our Teleradiology or healthcare outsourcing services, you can share your queries by leaving a comment in the box below and our executives will contact you.

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